The Training for Peace Programme at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD) conducted Conflict Management Support Training for Civil Affairs Officers (CAOs) in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in August, September and October 2012. These initial training courses are a result of a curriculum development process, with tailoring in line with the mission mandate, CAOs roles and functions, and the present context of South Sudan.
The Conflict Management Support Training courses for UNMISS Civil Affairs Division (CAD), were delivered from 14-16 August 2012, 4-6 September 2012, and 16-18 October 2012 respectively, in Juba, South Sudan. These initial training courses, exploring the collaborative tool for conflict management support, are a result of the curriculum development process undertaken by the TfP Programme with the assistance from ACCORD's Training Unit, and in consultation with UNMISS Civil Affairs. This process is based on a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) undertaken in October 2011 by the Programme, to better understand the mission's present context and the specific training needs required for the furtherance of UNMISS CAOs conflict management work. Based on the TNA, TfP/ACCORD, commissioned by UNMISS CAD, undertook a subsequent analysis of UNMISS' environmental context, which involved field research in South Sudan. It culminated in the report in March 2012 entitled 'Study on Conflict Management Capcity within South Sudan', focusing on understanding the existing conflict management capacity in South Sudan (including that of UNMISS, the Government of South Sudan, international organisations and agencies, and local civil society organisations and institutions). As a result, the conflict management support process, utilising collaborative strategies and tools, was identified as an appropriate approach for UNMISS CAOs, as it encourages consensus, participatory decision-making, and third party support to interventions among multiple stakeholders. This aligns with the fact that CAOs, in their work on peace consolidation, are the civilian face of the mission to the local population, developing and maintaining a wide network of contacts at all levels of local and regional government, and interacting with other key players in the community, such as traditional leaders and civil society representatives.
The TfP/ACCORD training courses on Conflict Management Support contributed to the comprehensive capacity building of CAOs in UNMISS in the implementation of their roles, functions and tasks as it relates to: cross-mission liaison, monitoring and facilitation at the local level; confidence-building, conflict management and reconciliation; and, support to the restoration and extension of state authority. The courses enhanced the skills of approximately 80 CAOs (the total number of CAOs in the mission), both national and international staff, from each of the ten states in South Sudan. The courses were facilitated by Dr. Cedric de Coning, ACCORD's Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Advisor; Dr. Pascal da Rocha, ACCORD's Training Unit Coordinator; and Dr. Kwesi Sansculotte-Greenidge, ACCORD's South Sudan Initiative (SSI) Coordinator. TfP/ACCORD's Project Management Team was represented by Mr. Zinurine Alghali, ACCORD's Peacekeeping Unit Coordinator; and Ms. Seun Abiola, ACCORD's Peacekeeping Unit Senior Programme Officer.
In order to ensure contextualised andragogy and resourceful use of expert knowledge of both international and national UNMISS CAD staff, the training courses were participatory in their approach, and involved actual and current case studies from the area of responsibility of UNMISS CAD within the ten states, including case studies on land disputes; border disputes; disputes relating to annual cattle migrations; disputes between herders and farmers; and governance issues. These initial Conflict Management Support Training courses are part of a larger training package tailored specifically for UNMISS CAD by the TfP/ACCORD, which also includes plans for an Advanced Conflict Management Retreat and an online Mentoring Support Network (MSN) to foster continuous assessment, follow-up and support of the collaborative conflict management tool. This engagement with UNMISS CAD reflects the TfP Programme's further support of the work of Civil Affairs, as the single largest civilian component within peacekeeping operations. Over the past years, the Programme has been engaged with UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (UN DPKO) to strengthen the capacities of CAOs, including support in the development of the UN Civil Affairs Skills Training, and the development and distribution of the UN Civil Affairs Handbook published and launched earlier this year in April 2012.
The Training for Peace Programme at ACCORD is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For more information on ACCORD's work through the TfP programme contact Mr. Zinurine Alghali, Peacekeeping Unit Coordinator on Zinurine@accord.org.za, and Ms. Seun Abiola, Peacekeeping Unit Senior Programme Officer on Seun@accord.org.za.